Tibaldi Iride, Molteni Antonella.

The Tibaldi Iride arrived a month ago in a plain, ink-stained Pilot box. I’d asked the seller to not send it in its de rigeur crystal coffin, to avoid damage in transit. Besides, the box is never as important as the pen it holds. I liked the Tibaldi Iride for its celluloid. Celluloid is a classic pen material. It always looks like refined candy to me, creamy and iridescent all at once. It comes in many colors and combinations, and I have yet to see a celluloid I don’t like.

The Iride’s celluloid is warm, rust and orange and mocha and the wrong side of mother-of-pearl, like sunset caught in different shards of windows. It has a vacuum-type filler that requires a strong grip, so I get to exercise my carpal muscles as I load the pen with ink.

It is not a small pen. The Iride is almost as long as a Montblanc 149, with a similar girth. It feels more ergonomic in the hand, and I believe a lot of that is due to the celluloid, the warmth its natural origins impart.

The nib is fairly firm, with a hint of spring. I ordered a fine nib, and it wrote smoothly, with absolutely no hesitation.

In the picture beside the Iride is a Molteni Antonella. Molteni is a seller’s private imprint, and Bexley manufactures the pens. The Antonella I have is made of green ebonite, with gold trim and a two-tone Bexley fine nib. It is now filled with Caran d’Ache’s Amazon ink, a green of surprising intensity and freshness. I use it to write holiday cards and felt happy.